Friday, June 20, 2008

What is Style?

After looking through all my blog entries for this course, I could only think one thing. Style can be defined in a lot of different ways. Before this class, when I thought of the word style in regards to a person's way of writing, I often thought about the flow of their sentences, and the way they structure their essay. However, after going through this class, I realize there is so much more to writing style than just that. For instance, I learned that their are different writing styles related to formal essay writing than with web page style. I also was intrigued when we talked about writing technology and how that is considered style. So based on this, I would say writing style is just a blanket term for a lot of different concepts of writing.

If someone were to ask me what I learned from this class, I would have a lot to tell them. First off, I would tell them about the history of writing, and why it is so important that we are able to write things down. I would also be able to instruct them as to how to make a webpage and a portfolio of their work. I could teach them how to make a comic strip and I could also teach them about visual rhetoric in general. I feel that as teacher, these skills will definitely come in handy when dealing with my own students.

The Most Important Web Style Rule

The web style rule that I found most helpful was found in SpiderPros 100 Do's and Don'ts of Web Design. It was the concept of images and color. I personally like the idea of colors and images drawing people into a web site. I myself am very visual and I found that by putting up inviting and warm colors, it would draw people into the webpage a little more. Also, I put up a picture of myself to give the webpage a more personal feel. Hopefully this style rule helped in making my webpage a little more inviting to all!

Connecting Paper Style

The first similarity I see between paper style and web style is in the planning. This is something that I feel strongly about because I myself am a big organizer when it comes to writing. As far as writing style goes, it is often important to create some type of outline or webbing guide to track your thoughts. One of the main components is to know your audience. When writing a paper, it is very important that you are writing to the intended audience or you will use you reader. This is something that on the Lynch and Horton website, "Web Style Guide". The writers of this site say, "The knowledge, background, interests, and needs of users will vary from tentative novices who need a carefully structured introduction to expert 'power users' who may chafe at anything that seems to patronize them or delay their access to information." This is important in both web style as well as in paper style.

As far as differences go, this is a little more obvious. Of course, in webpages, site design is considered on of the more important aspects of the process. A direct homepage is very important in webstyle. Keeping things as simple as possible is key in making a sound homepage. This is something that while writing a paper an author does not have to put much thought into. While an author of a paper needs to grab the readers attention with words, the author of a webpage needs to grab the readers attention with graphics and layout.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

McCloud Blog Part 2

I chose to do this entry on Chelsee Harris blog post on But No One Ever Noticed the Walrus. Here is the link to Chelsee's blog

And here is the link to the comic itself

In her blog post, Chelsee discusses the idea of converying emotion. I want to talk about a different concept that is found in this comic, the idea of time frames. As the panels go on, you see the characters doing different things at different times, even though they are in the same panel, you get the idea of movement. Even when people are talking, we know which one to read at what time to keep the timing of the comic right. McCloud uses the example of thinking of a rope going through the comic, saying "Portraying time on a line moving left to right, this puts all the images on the same vertical axis". As young children we are taught to read left to right.

Another movement concept that is addressed in the McCloud book that can be applied to this comic is the idea of sequential movement. McCloud discusses how even a single panel can show movement, and in this comic, in one panel we see the two lovers rushing at each other. This is shown by the papers flying from the man standing off to the side. We can see the rush inside the comic strip from this simple drawing.

McCloud Part One

The comic that I am going to discuss is titled "Piercing" and it is by David Gaddis. Here is the link for those of you that want to go look at it while checking out my discussion.

While reading this comic, well, not really reading it because I more or less had to just look at it because it is a silent comic, I found a lot of really interesting concepts that were discussed in Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. The first concept that jumped out at me was the way the comic was saying something without saying anything at all. McCloud talks about this concept in the second chapter of his book. In this chapter, he uses the example of a drawing of a pipe with the inscription underneath saying, "This is not a pipe". At one point in the comic, he stops using words and asks if the reader hears what he is saying. The answer should be yes and no, considering he is not using words but the reader can still hear what he is trying to get at.

In the Gaddis comic, this is happening throughout the entire comic. The man in the comic is taking notes in his Casanova book when he sees a woman that intrigues him. Then as the plot runs its course, he ends up bleeding at home by himself. This makes a powerful statement in saying that while love is good while it lasts, most of us end up bleeding at the end. This was said without using any words at all, just different images in different panels. The writer of this comic chose not to use words, instead used different concepts in comic making to tell this story. You can even see the emotions of the characters without the two of them saying a word. For instance, when the woman pulls out the man's piercing and causes him to bleed, you can see that she feels badly by looking at the expression on her face. Reading this comic, you do not need the words to see that she feels badly. Same goes for the man once he is alone in his room. You cannot even really see his face, but from the slump of his shoulders you can tell he is lonely and disappointed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Strunk and White vs. Williams

When I went back an looked over my previous post on Stunk and White, I noticed that I had wrote about the chapter on "Omitting Needless Words". I had a little trouble following Williams' book and couldn't find a section that discussed this exact idea, but Williams does have a chapter on Length, which would definitely be related to omitting needless words.

Often, it seems that students use more words in order to reach a certain required word mark on an assignment. I know that I am guilty of this on occasion. I also talked about how my writing is often very wordy at times and that being concise is sometimes an issue for me. I like how in the beginning of the chapter on length, Williams says, "The ability to write clear, crisp sentences that never go beyond twenty words is a considerable achievement." Like I wrote in my blog on Strunk and White, I very much strive to do this myself and like that I now have two books that can help me achieve this.

While I liked the Strunk and White book because it is easier to read, I feel as though the Williams book gives much more detail. While Strunk and White seemed to be a smaller, more manageable book, I know that I much prefered the Williams book for all the examples he provided in his book. Having these examples made the book a little more difficult to read, but gave me a good idea of what I needed to do to make my writing more concise. I could see in the examples of the poor writing concepts that end up in my own writing. Seeing an example of how I could fix this makes it easier to spot the mistakes in my own writing.

Revising with WIlliams

"The ombudsman facilitates the resolution of individual complaints which do not have a formal avenue of redress through official University channels. The ombudsman advises students on University policy and procedures, identifies and recommends changes to current practices, and communicates student concerns/issues to appropriate University officials. In addition, the Ombudsman presents workshops, conducts needs assessments and mediates disputes."

-From EMU Catalog.

This is an example of a poorly written passage according to Williams, based on clarity. In the chapter about clarity, Williams discusses that someone who is not in the field would not be sure as to what an ombudsman really is. I know I felt the same way. This passage made no sense to me because I am not even sure what this term means. So re-written, this is what this passage should look like:

"EMU provides the students with an ombudsman, a person who is available to the student to facilitate the resolution of individual complaints which do not have a formal avenue of redress through official University channels. The ombudsman advises students on University policy and procedures, identifies and recommends changes to current practices, and communicates student concerns/issues to appropriate University officials. In addition, the Ombudsman presents workshops, conducts needs assessments and mediates disputes."